Jeriël Bobbe – Founder of Bloondesign

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Photography by Studio NAGTZAAM

When you live an idea, you will succeed, that I’m sure of.

When you’re a kid, you are always dreaming of becoming a firefighter or policeman. Jeriël used to dream of being a dreamer, and that is what he’s now become. “I translate this dream into products. And I think the products I design demonstrate this. The only difference with being a child is that now I earn my money with dreaming.” The starting point still is and always will be a wish or a dream, and never money.

“Money is always on the 3rd place. On the 2nd place is a well thought plan. The difference between a dream and a goal is the plan. But there’s nothing without a dream, that’s always 1st “.

He believes in the philosophy that starting something with your heart will always win over starting with your wallet. There are too many companies that do the latter and contaminate our lives with the results. These are all temporarily money impulses, like fast food; half of which is waste. Starting with a passion will give you a healthy and sustainable company that will survive the longest nights.

Founder of Bloondesign, Jeriël Bobbe, graduated in 2010 with distinction as a Man & Mobility Designer at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands. He still lives and works in Eindhoven, at the center of Technology and Design.

His graduation project attracted the world press following the exhibition at the Graduation show in October 2011. It’s called ‘Suitcase symphony’: Use your trolley suitcase as a musical instrument on paving stones to create your own composition. The wheels pass on vibrations to your suitcase, which acts as a sound board. The tiles add life to the cold, sterile spaces at airports and form a serious competitor to the moving walkways: will you choose the silent route, or the melodious one?

This was a good start, but Bloondesign has become really well known by designing a typical Dutch product that’s now loved by millions: ‘Springtime’. A picnic basket you can transform easily into a bike rack, and ultimately into a romantic picnic table for two. It’s almost ready for manufacturing and the pre-order list is well filled.
Jeriël combines Bloondesign with a fulltime job at the largest product design Studio in the Netherlands: VanBerlo. “At VanBerlo we design products for a wide range of clients,” he explains.

“In combination with Bloon, my work forms a perfect harmony of sharing inspiring ideas, knowledge and vision.”
Jeriël Bobbe half inventer, half designer wants to shape the world with Bloondesign. “Unfortunately, I’ve got only two hands”.

What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working on two different projects. The first one is the finalization of Springtime. The second project will be a very promising and beautiful one as well. We’re working our ass off to finish it, but it’s still in the development phase, so unfortunately details can’t be made public yet. It will be something new, for kids, and it has something to do with flying! To be continued.

How do you make money?

I make money from my daytime job at VanBerlo. I spend my nights on Bloondesign. It’s a strange circle, and it feels like it’s not totally round. This is changing, fortunately.

What does your typical day look like?

At 6 am my alarm clock goes off. During the day I work at the VanBerlo product design studio till 6 pm. The journey home on my bike is the break I take. I have something to eat and then my 2nd workday starts and goes on till around midnight.

During the weekends I make two working days per day for Bloondesign. I’m fortunate this is all possible because I work with very flexible suppliers and clients.

Once every two months I take a weekend break to see family and friends.

Where did the idea for Bloondesign come from?

I felt the need to do more when I came home. There was a poetic side in me, an urgent drive to reinvent the world, that wasn’t fulfilled. It had to come out. I decided to give that feeling a label: Bloondesign.

The name Bloon is fresh and quirky and the carrier of the logo is the connection between the designer and his products. Bloon products tell a story. React on that and share ideas; it keeps the process of thinking alive. This process of sharing is best translated in a bubble, a balloon or simply ‘Bloon’.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Ideas are popping up in my head every second of the day. Sometimes I’m busier ignoring them rather than adopting them. To filter them, I’m always busy scribbling.

You simply know when an idea has the potential to become something big, something beautiful. You fall in love with this great idea, and you’re willing to fight for every inch of the way. When you live an idea, you will succeed, that I’m sure of. There’s however a gap between a successful product and a product that will be a commercial success. That’s the risk you have to take when you believe in something.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

You can see clearly that the world is changing. The world is digitalizing at a tremendous pace and a lot of discussions and questions are being generated on the subject. The opportunities are amazing; it’s as if you can hold almost the whole digital world in the palm of your hand.

But on the other hand, people are getting scared of the speed this process is taking. What’s privacy anymore? What was wrong with the scratching sound an LP record made? It loses its character. And how can you love someone without character? How well do you know your friends on Facebook for example?

What I feel and see is a movement that is really going back to basics and really earth based. Pure materials, honesty filled with a lot of character. It’s a kind of nostalgia. I think it’s really interesting, and I made it our brand promise: ‘inventions of tomorrow, with the love of yesterday’.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I’m sorry, what was that question again?

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Nothing. But that doesn’t mean that I would be a product designer or live the life that I live now if I started all over again.

It’s a combination of making choices and listening to the things you have a passion for. It’s the butterfly effect. By making choices you find the things you love, and are willing to spend your life on.

You never make bad choices. Every choice will lead you to something. But you must realize that when you make a decision a second time, you are a hundred miles away from the point where you started.

“If I hadn’t jumped into the Design Academy with the conviction in my head of becoming a car designer, I would not be enjoying the product side of design so much”. What’s next?!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

For me, Bloon is a reflection of who I am. And that’s what I also try to portray to the people who work for me. Trust, honesty and love for the things we do. It sounds a little bit cheesy, but for me this is the way to make beautiful and pure products like Bloon is doing now.

This is one side of the story. The other side is about ‘questioning’ to develop and prepare you for the future. I’m always looking at who I am now, and who I will be in the next 10 years. Ask yourself this and never be satisfied with the answer. Enjoy the positive side of a success, but immediately look forward. If you are too sure of yourself, or too full of your success you’re looking back and you get lame. Dare to doubt, that makes you and your company even stronger.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I know I’m cheating a little bit right now, because Bloondesign is a brand new label. But I’m very proud to say that I have not made any mistakes yet and that things are going unbelievably well.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I’m very stupid to give this business idea away, and you guys are incredibly lucky:

A group of Korean scientists, working at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), have developed a fast-charge lithium-ion battery that can be recharged 30 to 120 times faster than conventional li-ion batteries. The team believes it can build a battery pack for electric vehicles that can be fully charged in less than a minute.

Well, you don’t have to be Einstein to realize how this invention can change some industries drastically. The opportunities are just phenomenal.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

I’m not the one who can provide world peace, but I like to guide people into seeing things differently. By changing little things you are used to, you make people aware of the fact that it’s there. It’s about creating consciousness.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

When I play soccer, my left foot is dominant. While I’m sketching, I use my right hand. There’s something crosswise in my head I guess!

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

1. I use Youtube to listen to music, I have about zero songs on my computer.
2. Designboom and Pinterest for inspirational photos.
3. Wetransfer to share big files easily over the entire world.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

‘Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve been drawing cars.’ This exact title is something I used to say, “this is me!” A few years ago I was given the book for my birthday, and I was stunned. In the book ten top Belgium automotive designers talk about their job, and how they pursue their dream.

It’s a book with a beautiful balance between sketches and text, combined with really interesting content.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

@KimOomen is a very good text writer and tweets a lot of inspiring stuff.
@tagit_creatives are two brothers who build websites, and are always working on new ones.
@VanBerloDesign a studio filled with creative brains, lively activities and a twitter that keeps you updated about the latest developments of it.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

Last weekend, a friend of mine and I went for a weekend on a boat to the ‘Biesbos’. This is a place in Holland where the world has stopped spinning since the moment it was made. When evening fell and we wanted to cook our noodles, we discovered that the gas tank for gas cooker was empty. We decided to use the kettle, the thing you normally use to boil your water for tea. We filled it with water, taped the automatically switch-off button and cooked delicious pasta with eggs (very easy to drain by the way). We were fantasizing about what kind of fancy dishes you could make with one kettle, and put in a cookery book called ‘kettle cookery’. Who knows!

Who is your hero, and why?

You can talk about design, art and architecture in one sentence. Santiago Calatrava is the ultimate example of this. He calls himself an architect, and changed a lot of places. He understands his job so well. He uses so little effort to make you speechless and takes you with him on his journey. He tells a story without words, sees butterflies in winter and makes the strongest guy weak. Elegant, playful and sophisticated. Every work is bright white, creates quietness by long clean surfaces and makes well- considered use of the environment. He is a true artist.

What are your plans for the future / how do you hope to develop your design company?

Over the next few years, my plans are to divide Bloon in two different categories: BloonHome and BloonPark. Both with the same Bloon DNA. BloonHome will be equipped to target the individual consumer, home and kids products. And you will see BloonPark products in public spaces.

Every category will not sell more than 4 product lines at the same time. That makes us easy to understand, efficient, and most important it forces us to have a very smart business plan.

Connect:

Bloon website: www.bloondesign.com
Bloon on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Bloondesign?ref=hl
Bloon on Twitter: @Bloondesign
Jeriël with friends on shared Pinterest Board: http://pinterest.com/remkoverhaagen/inspiration/

Published on February 21, 2013 .

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